Some interesting movements of swifts and swiftlets are taking place at the
moment. Here is a summary of what I presently know about them:
Australia had only 2 or 3 records in the 1970's, None in the 1980's but 33
sightings since 1995. Three of the later were in NSW, two in WA, one in SA
and the rest in Qld.
This species appears to have arrived very late to Victoria and in much
smaller numbers than usual. One observer in E. Gippsland who usually has
many sightings on most days in December, had only one by the end of
January. The only other sighting I have for Victoria is of 30 at
Wurdiboluc (Richard Dilena). In fact I searched an area near Labertouche,
and for only the second time ever, never found any needletails. They are
usually there. Did they breathe in too much ash over Indonesia on their
way to Siberia, last year?
At Katoomba in NSW, where Carol Probets usually sees many as do her fellow
Bird Observers, they have made only three records this season. These have
only been small numbers, 3, 2, & 12 between 26 December and 28 January. On
the other hand about 25 km to the NE Keith Brandwood has made many
sightings this season, providing me with the most records from anybody so
far, this season.
The first reported Needletail this season was on the 9 September at Mossman
(Keith & Lindsay Fisher).
PS. And the last is of two I just saw this morning over the campus of PAU
here in PNG.
Not many sightings this season: eight in Qld, three in NSW, 1 in Vic, and 4
There has been one apparent sighting at South Mossman by Del Richards, per
The report of three birds several years ago near Millicent in SA has now
been withdrawn, as it is thought the birds concerned were probably House
Swifts, which were not in the field guides being used at the time (SA Mus).
Alex Appleman reports one on 1st January at Sth Towoomba.
With the recent cyclone and strong winds, some of these birds may come your
way, please let me know of any sightings you have time to report.
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